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United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy Announces Efforts to Protect Voting Rights in Upcoming Elections

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 21, 2010
  • Western District of Virginia (540) 857-2250

United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy announced today that Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Sharon Burnham will lead the efforts of his office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 2, 2010, general elections. AUSA Burnham has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the Western District of Virginia, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the district’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.

United States Attorney Heaphy said, “Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted without it being stolen because of fraud. The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process.”

Eight years ago, former Attorney General Ashcroft established a Department-wide Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative. The goals of this ongoing Initiative are to increase the Department’s ability to deter election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and to prosecute these offenses whenever and wherever they occur. The Department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals, and also seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations while the polls are open on election day.

The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise exercise it if they choose, and that those who seek to corrupt it are brought to justice. In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on November 2, 2010, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, United States Attorney Heaphy stated that Assistant United States Attorney/DEO Burnham will be on duty in this district while the polls are open. She can be reached by the public at the following telephone number: 540-857-2255.

In addition, the FBI will have special agents available in each field office and resident agency throughout the country to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on election day. The FBI in the Western District of Virginia can be reached by the public at 540-344-5561.

Complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington at 1-800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767.

United States Attorney Heaphy said, “The effectiveness of our Election Day Program depends in large part on the watchfulness and cooperation of the American electorate. It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available immediately to my Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”

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